Engagement: UN Assembly in 3 weeks, it’s D-Day on Iran (S.908)

Enough time wasted.. Time to step up to the plate Mr President.

We heard about the Obama engagement plan all throughout the never ending campaign, more than a year & a half’s worth of buildup by the progressive wing of the American Democratic party. In January 2009, Obama was sworn in. He took a fair allotment of time to prepare his administration to implement his ideas through an Iranian policy review, no problem. By March Israel’s new government was beginning to do the same.

During the 1st & only meeting between PM Netanyahu & President Obama we learned that the US was coming to agreement with the consensus feeling in both Israel and old Europe that engagement could not be open ended, as this would allow Iran opportunity to simply stall for time under a cloak of ‘engagement’ while developing nuclear capabilities. The time frame laid out by Obama was end of 2008 to begin review of the engagement process.

Engage!…

Obama meanwhile punted, under the claim that until Iranian early summer elections elections no engagement was possible. Unfortunately for him, the Iranian people and the world, we all witnessed the brutality and criminality of the Iranian theocracy close up in those ‘elections’. Despite a state of denial by the American administration to ‘push forward’ with the illegitimate regime regardless, Europe was somewhat more appalled.

S. 908 ready since April

As a result of the brutality and clear path to failure with engagement Sarkozy, Merkel, and Israel were more inclined to speed things up. A consensus was reached at the Italian G8 Summit that discussion & determination of what action to take re Iran would come at the UN General Assembly in September, now 3 weeks away where the P5+1 / G8 members will be present. In the US Senate, a refined fuel sanctions bill is long on the table awaiting the White House ok. The Honorables Evan Bayh & Senator Lieberman have about 70 senate votes & about 300 house members prepared to support the new sanctions proposed by S. 908. (see below)

D-Day

The time for dilly dally is up, now is the time for pressure, sanctions, and isolation. It is likely Israel will come to some form of agreement on peace talks & settlements to placate envoy Mitchell & President Obama, so that the path will be clear for the American administration to live up to its pledge on alternatives to friendly Obama charm based ‘engagement’ - Which has now failed. The UN session will begin on the 15th, will we see the P5+1 push for international pressure? Will we see S. 908 become law? Will American foreign policy finally take some form?

Just as crucial, what kind of distraction, mayhem, or terror is Iran perhaps planning to deflect attention and consensus on these matters? The last time we saw an important crossroads like this Hezbollah was instructed by Iran to create distraction. They assaulted Israel in terrorist action to kidnap Israeli soldiers, resulting in a month long war in Lebanon. By the same token, any failure to move forward internationally led by the USA on Iran now puts Israel in a ready mode, prepared to jump out of the blocks and sprint to a military solution..

Netanyahu is already traveling Europe preparing the ground work for the UN Assembly, if he announces he is planning to address the world in New York we’ll know just how serious efforts to box in Iran are. President Obama is going to have to hawk up, pass sanctions and prepare a possible blockade for early 2009. Will he?

7 months gone, 7 months wasted.. 7 months closer to Iranian nuclear weapons. Time for countries & international petroleum companies to choose. Whom do they want to transact with, America or Iran?

———-

Official Summary of S. 908

A bill to amend the Iran Sanctions Act of 1996 to enhance United States diplomatic efforts with respect to Iran by expanding economic sanctions against Iran.

4/28/2009–Introduced.

Iran Refined Petroleum Sanctions Act – Expresses the sense of Congress that: (1) the United States should continue to support diplomatic efforts in the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) and the U.N. Security Council to end Iran’s illicit nuclear activities;

(2) diplomatic efforts with Iran are more likely to be effective if the President is empowered with the explicit authority to impose additional sanctions on the government of Iran;

(3) it should be U.S. policy to encourage foreign governments to direct state-owned and private entities to cease all investment in, and support of, Iran’s energy sector and all exports of refined petroleum products to Iran;

(4) the President is urged to impose sanctions on the Central Bank of Iran and any other Iranian financial institution engaged in proliferation activities or support of terrorist groups;

(5) the Department of the Treasury should continue to work with allies to protect the international financial system from deceptive and illicit practices by Iranian financial institutions involved in proliferation activities or support of terrorist groups;
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State of Obama’s Union? Pretty Much A Total Crap Fest (Debt UpdateII)

Impressive..

Sorry, I can’t resist. Personally, I’m convinced they are smoking the cheeba over there in the American White House. How else can you explain this..

  • Health Care? Obama’s own man made disaster.
  • Afghanistan? Deteriorating.
  • Deficit? Now 2 TRILLION higher than projected going forward (9 Trillion bucks, my lord..)
  • Presidential Approvals? Tanking.
  • Clunkers? 3 billion dollars burned, zero enviro impact, ten top sellers? Foreign autos.
  • Cap & Trade? Not so much.
  • Iran engagement? G8 Summit / deadline in weeks.
  • Mid East Peace? Rejected by Obama’s Arab pals.
  • Gitmo? Like Mcdonalds, Open 24hrs per day.
  • Jobs? A few hundred thousand more lost last month.
  • No New Tax pledge? The Dreams of your father.
  • Stimulus? More like Porkulus.
  • National Intelligence? Now under threat of prosecution.
  • Post Partisanship? Difficult when 50% of Americans are termed ‘Unruly Mobs’ & ‘Nazis’.
  • Transparency? Opaque.
  • Progressive Agenda? Has Blue-dog Dems running scared.. right out of their 2010 seats!
  • President ‘Lincoln’ II? On Vacation..

Don’t even get me started on foreign policy issues like Honduras, Israel, the UK, Russia, NoKo etc.. Because it’s an even worse disaster that makes the above domestics look like a Chagall masterpiece! The real telling part of all this? The great community organizer / executive in chief along with his Astroturfing pals and 60+ ‘Czars’ are micromanaging it all to great effect. Well everything but the parts they’ve farmed out to Pelosi & CO. that is.

They’ve brought it all ‘in house’ so to speak

Clinton is nowhere to be found, the State Department has simply seemingly ceased to exist. Got an international problem? Just Email fishy@whitehouse.gov and wait for the spam email form letter response from David Axelrod himself! Heck even the CIA is no longer needed or in charge (more like being charged).. Interrogation of terrorists will be henceforth handled by the competent WH crew who brought Americans all the above. Charming!

You think Israel is a big mess? Don’t feel too bad. Have you taken a look at Obama’s new America lately? Yikes.

On the debt, take a look at this from the FT (via Drudge)

[...] most of the attention is likely to focus on the longer-term picture, which will result in the near doubling of US national debt to 82 per cent of gross domestic product by 2019 – levels not seen since the second world war. Mounting concern over the economic – and even national security – implications of exploding US national debt is also likely to complicate any attempts by the Obama administration to embark on a second fiscal stimulus, which many economists say may prove necessary by 2011 as the effects of this year’s $787bn stimulus begin to wane.

Almost 10% of all US economic activity per annum will be budget deficit alone, and 82% of annual GDP debt!? Total insanity. On top of that Obama intends to take 1/6th of the total US economy and run it into a socialist, inefficient government run program which gives away health care selectively to the tune of at least another trillion. Hey 9 trillion, 10 trillion what’s the difference right? It’s just debt - 1 million, millions to be precise.. If you love America as I do how can you NOT be worried?

Reminds me of that Jim Carrey line in the Mask – Somebody stop meeee!

Update II: I had to read more about this because I was so shocked by the numbers.

To put things in perspective, here are some stats on top expenditures for the US per annum.

  • Defense appx 500 Billion
  • Social Security appx 400 Billion
  • Medicare appx 400 Billion
  • Annual interest ALONE on current debt? 300+ Billion per year.

About 50% of that above is deficit spending! All this debt breaks down to almost $40,000 dollars per US citizen in federal debt (not counting any personal individual debt, which breaks down to another 25K in debt for the avg. American). These numbers are astounding. How on Earth can the current administration have the moxie to propose more & more spending, cronyism, fraud, bailouts & pork? Obama is trying to ‘re-distribute the wealth’ by spending & taxing, but what happens when there’s no more wealth in America period, just debt?

The USA is the World’s economic engine, if it goes we all go. I’m not an economist I’m a technologist, it has been a while since I was in macro economics so I may be misreading these numbers. If I am let me know.

Unmentionables: 4 Star General Writes “There Is a Military Option on Iran”

Hide the Women & Children, run for the hills..

The Obama administration and the entire American hard left may have a full conniption, General Wald – You are NOT ALLOWED to talk about these things. The talking points all state clearly that any military option will fail even though it won’t. The official line is a softening on Iran, a legitimization of the illegitimate Iranian regime and appeasement of the Mullahs. All leading to accepting what has been termed by US administrations both past & present as unacceptable: A nuclear bomb armed Iran.

As such the views of this enlightened US Air Force Four Star General need to be totally discounted immediately, everything he says is absolutely true but someone needs to tear him up a little, get some character assassination revved up or something. Eeegads I mean look at some of this stuff printed in the WSJ..

In a policy address at the Council on Foreign Relations last month, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said of Iran, “We cannot be afraid or unwilling to engage.” But the Iranian government has yet to accept President Obama’s outstretched hand. Even if Tehran suddenly acceded to talks, U.S. policy makers must prepare for the eventuality that diplomacy fails. While there has been much discussion of economic sanctions, we cannot neglect the military’s role in a Plan B.

There has been a lack of serious public discussion of the military tools available to us. Any mention of them is either met with accusations of warmongering or hushed with concerns over sharing sensitive information. It is important to discuss, within legal limits, such a serious issue as openly as possible. Discussion strengthens our democracy and dispels misinformation.

The military can play an important role in solving this complex problem without firing a single shot. Publicly signaling serious preparation for a military strike might obviate the need for one if deployments force Tehran to recognize the costs of its nuclear defiance. Mr. Obama might consider, for example, the deployment of additional carrier battle groups and minesweepers to the waters off Iran, and the conduct of military exercises with allies.

If such pressure fails to impress Iranian leadership, the U.S. Navy could move to blockade Iranian ports. A blockade—which is an act of war—would effectively cut off Iran’s gasoline imports, which constitute about one-third of its consumption. Especially in the aftermath of post-election protests, the Iranian leadership must worry about the economic dislocations and political impact of such action.

Should these measures not compel Tehran to reverse course on its nuclear program, and only after all other diplomatic avenues and economic pressures have been exhausted, the U.S. military is capable of launching a devastating attack on Iranian nuclear and military facilities.

Many policy makers and journalists dismiss the military option on the basis of a false sense of futility. They assume that the U.S. military is already overstretched, that we lack adequate intelligence about the location of covert nuclear sites, and that known sites are too heavily fortified.

Such assumptions are false. [...]

Mein Got! I say again, Shhhhhh!

There is no military option. None for Israel, none for the USA. We need to appease Iran at all costs anything less is simply uncivilized. Read the whole thing, it is frankly alarming that there are Generals retired or not still willing to speak of defending American interests with every tool in the arsenal available, diplomatic, economic or military. Off to the gallows with him. You simply are not allowed to be more Presidential than the President himself – It’s heresy.

This calls for a few goons..

Someone call Organized American Labor, rough him up a bit or something otherwise it may lead to ‘Mobs’ & ‘Townhalls’ and concerned American citizens drinking ‘Tea’ or something. Can’t have ANY of that in the era of American Hope & Short Change.

Gd Bless America, or what’s left of her for now.

Hat Tip to RealClearWorld

‘Invisible Shield’ Deployed: Trophy APS Declared Operational by IDF (Video)

Witness the power of this fully armed & operational er.. Active Protection System : )

Mark IV Merkavas have already had Trophies on-board in more limited deployment, but now the IDF after most recent testing has declared the life & tank saving missile protection operational. Great news indeed..

The IDF Ground Forces Command has declared the Trophy anti-tank missile defense system operational, following a series of tests last week that surpassed expectations for the system’s capabilities, it was revealed on Thursday.

The Trophy system, developed by Rafael, creates a hemispheric protected zone around armored vehicles such as the Merkava tank, which operated prominently in Lebanon. The system is designed to detect and track a threat and counter it with a launched projectile that intercepts the anti-tank missile.

The test was held last week in an IDF base in the South. The system was installed on old tanks and was tested in two positions – static and in motion. According to defense officials, it succeeded in intercepting all of the enemy anti-tank missiles.

Foreign military attachés from around the world were present at the test site and have expressed interest in possibly purchasing the system for their militaries [...]

Video: 3DGarage in Israel prepared the following PR film for Rafael, developer of the system.

Hard Kill: An Israeli Merkava Sporting Trophy in Testing

Hard Kill: An Israeli Merkava Sporting Trophy in Testing

Here are details on the Iron Fist, the alternative Israeli APS system destined for Israeli Namer APCs. Yes, we made two of them & Iron Fist is mighty cool too..

US Falls Behind in Force Protection for Political Reasons

Meanwhile, the USA for what seemed like internal Army political reasons and an effort to flow funds to Raytheon opted not to test or employ Trophy despite the need for such a system to protect Strykers & US tanks, it was a pretty controversial move. 3 years later the much heralded Raytheon alternative (Quick Kill APS) which is very similar to the IDF Iron Fist I linked above, is still not ready and has met with design problems.

I wrote a number of posts on Trophy and a few on the US aspect, you can view them with a search here.

The old adage Woulda, coulda, shoulda may be applicable. Back in Israel Trophy deployment is slated to expand soon to older Mark III & Mark II Merkavas as well in the future, that’s on top of the standard application for all new Merkavas off assembly lines. This should prove useful to help counter the thousands of anti-tank RPGs & weapons Hezbollah has in Lebanon.

Flame Out: Anti-Israel Human Rights Watch Plummeting to Earth with No Chute

Sunlight is the best disinfectant

We all know that the UN’s various ‘Human Rights’ bodies are shams, this is not a secret. Many western nations refuse to participate in the UN bodies because actual human rights abuses are totally ignored, instead the worst violators of even the most basic fundamental human rights sit as judges & juries in a farcical game of Israel hatred. For months & years resolution after resolution condemning Israel is mock debated and then passed, no other issue even gets tabled. An international mockery that is rightly recognized as so, international cover for hatred of Israel & Jews.

Human Rights Watch’s neutrality eviscerated

But now the NGOs on the periphery of the UN are bleeding credibility as well. Here in Israel our government is already debating how to deal with the fact that foreign governments in the EU are actively funding agenda driven organizations like Peace Now, Btselem and other pro Palestinian entities who’s goals are to smear the State of Israel under the guise of ‘neutrality’ & ‘Human Rights’, with bias filled reports eagerly lapped up by Israel haters everywhere.

Human Right Watch, already reeling from recent disclosures of actively seeking funds in Saudi Arabia of all places (where Human Rights are non existent) by openly appealing to the Saudi money men to help fund & bash Israel under the same guise of neutrality, is further under the microscope and the results aren’t pretty..

Pollak over at Contentions summarizes some interesting information on key HRW staffers & directors. Not surprisingly, they are all serial Israel haters with padded resumes of Pro Palestinian ACTIVISM! A real death blow for so called ‘neutral organizations’..

Over on the Volokh blog, David Bernstein has been conducting admirable work on Human Rights Watch and its obsession with Israel. Yesterday he profiled Sarah Leah Whitson, HRW’s Middle East director, who, it turns out, is not just a Norman Finkelstein admirer but was deeply involved in anti-Israel activism when she was hired. She is in good company at HRW with people like Joe Stork, HRW’s deputy Middle East director, who used to edit the viciously anti-Israel Middle East Report. Another is Lucy Mair, the Israel/Palestinian-territories researcher until 2007, who used to write for Electronic Intifada, the pro-terrorism website.

You cannot be a ‘neutral’ & an ‘activist’ by very definition..

ac⋅tiv⋅ism – noun

1. the doctrine or practice of vigorous action or involvement as a means of achieving political or other goals, sometimes by demonstrations, protests, etc.

Uh Oh. As usual whenever criticism surfaces, HRW quickly dumps out a banal statement or report, and goes through the motions of trying to balance out its horrificly anti-Israel tipped scales by talking about Hamas & war crimes. They did the exact same thing a full year + after the Lebanon war II by finally acknowledging in a lame report what was evident to all – That Hezbollah was engaged in War Crimes rocketing Israel.

Now they do the same with a focus on the 3 week Gaza conflict to lamely cover their own asses which are directly in the fire, it’s cynical, comical and a fairly transparent effort. Pretty much the definition of Human Rights Watch itself these days now that the mask is fully off and their credibility is in the toilet. Three years ago I looked at an HRW report, and tore it apart. I’ve never bothered reading another one since, why waste my time? We already know what HRW is all about.. Pro Palestinian, Pro-Terrorist, Pro-Arab activism designed to attack and damage Israel under an absurd cover of ‘neutrality’ that is anything but.

At least I am open about my own shameless activism, I don’t cover and shield myself as a ‘Human Rights crusader’, apparently all those jobs are already filled.

Weakling: Netanyahu Continues to Disappoint Israel’s & America’s Liberal Elite

Agenda Rolls On

Last month I wrote some in depth analysis after the first 100 days of our new Israeli government coalition, focusing on PM Netanyahu and the broader political scene in Israel & also Foreign Policy. As usual my take differed somewhat from the fare generally available, but more importantly my analysis was spot on. Two key points, the linchpins of the Netanyahu domestic agenda have now passed in the Knesset, which is on its way to summer recess.

  • The Israel Lands Authority reform
  • The ‘Mofaz Law’

Bibi has passed the rockiest terrain coalition wise and scored his victories, it’s bad news for everyone else in opposition. Both bills faced staunch opposition from within & without the coalition itself and remarkably from both directions, the hard left & hard right placing Bibi in the center, a new spot for him. That & the fact that these bills were central pillars of Netanyahu’s agenda are what makes them critical for gaging realities and for analysis which is why I chose to focus on them then. In order to get a read on coalition strength or by extension leadership position you need to look at the tough sells and whether they go through, the fact that they have says much.

As a result of the bills passing many in the political realm are suffering bitter lemons, there’s a lot of spin going on in general. I think much of it stems from the fact that Israel’s elite in conjunction with its wholly owned & operated Israeli media machine simply cannot stand Netanyahu, and seize all opportunities to trash him. As a result much of the media analysis comes out flawed because it is tainted by the need to spin anti-Netanyahu.

 That is a fairly large disconnect, another one is the popular public support the PM now has. Whether Kadima cheerleaders, Meretz dreamers, or their cadre of media spinmeisters like it or not Bibi has popular support and their own party fortunes are looking rather anemic. Sucks to be them.

Foreign Policy – The crisis of the left continues.

There’s another anti Bibi media meme playing out, this one is generated by American media and American Jewry. Again the liberal elite are prime drivers, in this case left wing American Jewish groups like the NJDC & J-Street. The spin they have been selling is that Obama is some sort of great gift to Israel which is laughable, but onward they march trying to artificially prop up the American President while by the same token slamming Netanyahu, or more specifically the political positions he represents which are opposite Obama’s and the mission statements of these same groups like J-Street – Groups which are fiscally and politically tied to Obama through his Jewish Chicago cronies running major Jewish American organizations.

It is all spin, I for one do not believe that the vast majority of American Jewry is represented ideologically by these groups as they would have us believe, only the loudest, noisiest, and dirtiest politically portions in reality. In the same way that MoveOn.org probably represents less than 10% of Americans views but judging from the noise they make, the media footprint & the massive Soros funding you would think they represent the other 90% instead whom are better known as the silent majority.

American Jews vote Democrat because of party allegiance. However the party is changing into something much more radically progressive, it remains to be seen how many Jewish voters are gung-ho about that considering the farther left wing you go in American political spheres today, the more flat out anti-semitism surrounds you, never mind blind hatred of Israel.

As a result of these ideology changes these spin machines have actually lost Israel’s own left. Obama’s policies are not popular on either divide in Israel. The American Jewry left & the Israeli left are singing wildly different tunes, making the J-Street message being sold to American Jews bereft of any support in Israel at all, a constituency of none. That is going to develop into a real crisis for these left wing groups. You cannot represent what is the ‘best for Israel’, or be ‘Pro-Israel’ if there is no one in Israel who ACTUALLY AGREES with you, including ideological soul mates. The mask is coming off, and even the US administration is backing away from its hardline verbiage because it has clearly failed..

Credibility

The resulting memes have focused on credibility. Here again there is a massive disconnect. The American liberal Jewish groups and Obama’s administration try to sell a bill of goods that Netanyahu is running on short supply in the credibility department. The reality is in fact the opposite. It is Obama who’s credibility is falling like a stone, his speeches and wall to wall media appearances generate little interest now, his domestic agenda is losing wheels faster than a poorly constructed Government Motors union built crap box, and his foreign policies have been rejected at every turn by enemies & allies alike making him and his 300+ advisers look down right foolish.

By the same token, these Jewish groups who are the bedrock of spinning his Jewish American support sound more & more desperate to sell their message which pretty much everyone now sees more and more clearly as smoke & mirrors. Judging by the comments there no one is buying their BS. On the flip side, Netanyahu and the political platform he represents is riding higher domestically & in foreign policy.

Even American editorials acknowledge Obama naively overplayed his settlement hand for little gain, an exit strategy to fix the bumbling while saving credibility is needed. Iran itself is seemingly finally becoming the central issue of our time as per Israel’s endless warning, I believe we will see the Palestinian issue begin to fade as a result of their own usual intransigence and upcoming farcical ‘peace plans’. The Arabs themselves have shut down rather publicly Obama’s confidence building strategy. In every instance Obama is on the losing team while Netanyahu skillfully rides the rapids while staying firmly planted in the dingy.

Who is looking weak and who is looking strong?

The answers are obvious enough and the disconnects between reality and far left wing liberals are growing ever wider. President Obama is in trouble for now both in America & outside, by extension those selling his message are also in trouble – They are the ones suffering a credibility crisis.

Domestically & internationally Netanyahu doesn’t look very weak. If anything on Iran a nervous US administration over Israeli strikes gives us leverage, a unified Israeli public on terms for peace in upcoming negotiations gives him a lot of strength. Lastly, the empty message of Hope & Change being sold to Americans in general, and American Jews regarding the Middle East in particular is looking like a late night TV infomercial selling cheap goods at very very expensive prices.. Pretty soon people may start asking for their money back.